- Series: KURT WALLANDER MYSTERY
- Hardcover: 408 pages
- Publisher: New Press, The; First Edition edition (February 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565846524
- ISBN-13: 978-1565846524
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 241 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,233,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Step Behind: A Kurt Wallander Mystery Hardcover – February 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
In his fifth U.S. appearance in this taut, intricately plotted series (The Fifth Woman, etc.), Swedish detective Kurt Wallander pursues a long, complex case sure to please those who like weighty police procedurals. Six weeks after three college students are murdered during a Midsummer's Eve party, their bodies hidden to prevent discovery, Wallander's secretive colleague Svedberg is found at home with half his head blown off. Wallander's persistent, occasionally brilliant, investigation points to a connection between Svedberg and the disappearance of the three young people. Soon after their bodies surface, a fourth friend, who was too sick to attend the party, is killed. More murders follow, with the exhausted, understaffed detectives just too late each time to prevent the next crime. Eventually the reader meets the killer, whose bizarre motive and methods the author gradually reveals. The dyspeptic Wallander, whose frazzled personal life is further impaired by the diabetes he ignores, works himself to exhaustion, sidestepping official procedure and making intuitive leaps to find the cold-blooded killer. The glum tone of the book, despite the setting during a warm and luxuriant late summer, reflects a crumbling Swedish society: government corruption is widespread; honest cops are disillusioned by abuses in high officialdom; rifts among social classes and between Swedes and recent immigrants abound. Mankell's writing is deadpan and stark, the plotting meticulous and exacting. (Feb. 28)Forecast: Though a bestseller in Europe with both film and TV adaptations to his credit, Mankell has so far failed to take off here. Alas, Scandinavian dreariness just doesn't seem to have broad appeal to American readers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Devotees of Inspector Kurt Wallander can only bemoan the fact that this is just the fifth (out of nine books) in this Swedish mystery series to be published in the United States. Here, Wallander confronts perhaps his most horrific case, when the murder of a trusted colleague, Svedberg, and the disappearance of three young people begin to merge. Battling his own fatigue and illness, Wallander assiduously strips away layer after layer, dredging up fragments of conversations and crime-scene clues that lead him closer and closer to the killer, who plays him cleverly and remains one step ahead until the brutal end. Mankell focuses less on Wallander's personal relationships and on what he sees as the deterioration of Swedish quality of life than in the previous books, but nevertheless the subtext is there. Essential for public libraries, though newcomers may want to start earlier in the series (with The White Lioness or Sidetracked). Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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In this book, as in its predecessors, Mankell knows how to create suspense, atmosphere, and character while spinning out a story at its own pace. In Italian, the word for stories about police is poliziotti, which I mention because Italy's greatest and most successful contemporary writer of such works is Andrea Camillieri, whose numerous novels about his policeman, Moltabano, are the only such works known to me that can stand with Mankell's superb Wallander novels.
I read Camillieri in Italian and wish that I could read Mankell in Swedish -- perhaps in another lifetime?
The investigative team, headed by Police Inspector Kurt Wallander, begins their investigation in to what may be a disappearance of the three young people. Then the team is shocked by the brutal murder of one of their own, Police Detective Svedberg.
The reader is not surprised to find the cases are linked.
As Kurt continues his investigation, he faces another personal crisis. He discovers he has diabetes and begins a battle to change his eating habits and deal with his 'high blood sugar.'
The author weaves another intricate web tracing Police Inspector Wallander's investigation into these bizarre events. And through it all, Kurt is left with the feeling he is always "One Step Behind."